I have been to many dozens of small towns and villages in Italy. When it seems like it is just not possible for the next Italian town to be prettier than the last, I arrived in Spello.
This Roman town is entirely surrounded by walls
Spello is a pleasure for those who love walking, although the steep streets are somewhat tiring. Three well-preserved Roman stone arches form the entry points to the town; Porta Venere, with its towers, Porta Urbica and Porta Consolare. The Roman gateways into Spello are most beautiful and well worth visiting.
Once inside, the cobblestone streets meander in and out of mysterious alleyways that lead to simple, yet elegant stone houses. I strolled up and down various paths and found that around every corner there were historic sites, mainly Roman.
Most of the houses had a multitude of plants along the lane-ways and streets with lots of small lane-ways to explore. The green-fingered locals try to outdo each other with their billowing hanging baskets and flowerpots, filling the streets with a riot of colour and scent.
I stayed 3 nights in one of the most refined hotels, Palazzo Bocci in Via Cavour. This four star hotel is the quintessential 18thcentury resting place. The walls and ceilings are enrobed in exquisite original frescos. The bedroom ceilings have huge wooden rafters and deep window bays. From my room I enjoyed sweeping views of the surrounding country side.
After checking in to my hotel I ventured out for my first explore. Half way up a steep street I met a local man who invited me to sit with him to catch my breath. After chatting for about 10 minutes, he suggested I walk to the Forum at the top of the town to visit Piazza Della Cappuccini with its panoramic views of the old Roman Anfiteatro.
Spello is a photographer’s dream. I could not help myself from taking dozens and dozens of photos of the proud and very pretty town.
It was an easy walk down to the train station where I took the train to both Assisi and to Foligno. It was not so easy walking back up the hill but there were many opportunities to stop for a chat, a photo, a gelato or a glass of wine.
If you want to experience the charm of a small Italian village and live like a local for a few days, then Spello is a beautiful alternative to better known places like Assisi and Perugia, which are close by.